Saturday, May 25, 2024

We, the undersigned residents of affordable housing in Cambridge, strongly urge the City Council to support the passing of current proposed amendments to the Affordable Housing Overlay. With Cambridge rapidly becoming one of the most expensive cities in the country, it has become increasingly difficult to afford to live in this great city, and affordable housing is critical.

We understand that affordable housing is controversial, as there are concerns about parking, noise and the size of buildings. From our perspective, these concerns pale in comparison to the value provided: We get a roof over our heads, don’t have to put all of our paychecks into rent, get to raise our kids in a great school system and continue living in our homes without fear of displacement. We support allowing more families to have the same opportunities. The amendments to the overlay allow for more affordable housing and we strongly believe that this is the right path.

Furthermore, the conversation on these amendments has focused partially on how terrible larger affordable-housing buildings are – in a deeply problematic way. It is concerning when opponents of larger buildings claim that our buildings are poor-quality housing without ever having visited or lived in them. We have many large, wonderful affordable-housing apartments, including LBJ, Manning, Millers River and Rindge Towers; they have wonderful amenities, and we love our neighbors. We ask that you please stop referring to homes and buildings such as ours as slums or awful housing with no community. It is offensive. These buildings are our homes, and they provide us with access to the opportunities that make this city great.

We urge the City Council to pass currently proposed amendments to Affordable Housing Overlay zoning to allow more families to call Cambridge home. By doing so, it will help ensure that everyone in our community has the chance to thrive and enjoy the many benefits that Cambridge has to offer.

Thank you for listening.

Selika Akter, Obidul Haque, Sirajul Hoque, Mijanur Jowel, Hasina Mamtaz, Sitara Naheed, Abdur Rahim Patwary, Atiqur Rahman, Farjana Rahman and M. Saifullah, Rindge Avenue